From April 10-16, 2018, the Ministry of Justice’s Center for Coordination of State-Guaranteed Legal Aid held a series of seminars on the theme “State-Guaranteed Legal Aid: Practical Issues" in Jalal-Abad, Osh, Batken, Chui provinces and Bishkek city. The seminars were conducted with the support of the USAID Collaborative Governance Program and the joint project of the Finnish Foreign Ministry - UNDP "Towards a sustainable access to justice for legal empowerment in the Kyrgyz Republic."

The seminars were led by the Director of the Center for Coordination of State-Guaranteed Legal Aid, Akzhol Kalbekov, the chairman of the Council of Defense Attorneys of the Kyrgyz Republic, Bilim Raiymkulov, experts of the legal aid working group of the Ministry of Justice and members of the Bar Council. Over 200 representatives of state notary offices, lawyers, employees of the territorial units of the Ministry of Justice of Jalal-Abad, Osh, Batken, and Chui provinces, and Bishkek city took an active part in the seminars.

The participants discussed the activities of the Ministry of Justice’s Free Legal Aid Centers and the procedure for providing legal consultations, the accountability of the Centers, and the need to inform the general public about their activities. The participants also were familiarized with the selection criteria for defense attorneys who are included in the system of state guaranteed legal aid, as well as practical guidance on the provision of qualified legal assistance. Each seminar participant received a package of normative legal documents, posters and booklets about the Free Legal Aid Centers, the Ministry of Justice’s interactive map of legal services, www.legalmap.gov.kg, and the Supreme Court’s online resource for court decisions, www.sot.kg.

Similar seminars will be held in Naryn, Talas and Issyk-Kul provinces.

The Collaborative Governance Program (CGP) promotes effective collaboration between civil society, the private sector, and the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The Program is funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and is implemented by the East-West Management Institute (EWMI).